You're driving along on your way to work and you're going to pull into your parking spot right on time – that is, until you see the flashing lights and cones that indicate a work zone is ahead. You suddenly feel your blood pressure rise as you can already see the line of traffic forming in front of you. You think to yourself, "This is a great way to start the day."

Before you try any fancy driving work so you can avoid the delays, think twice and keep the following information about driving in a work zone in mind.

Work Zone Traffic Accident Statistics

Before you even think about pulling into the lane that is being merged for road work so you can get as far in front of the line of traffic as possible, think about the following statistics:

  • In 2010, a total of 87,606 traffic accidents occurred in work zones, which accounts for 1.6 percent of the cumulative total of all traffic accidents that year.
  • In the same year, .6 percent of these accidents resulted in fatalities, 30 percent caused personal injury and 69 percent resulted in damage to property.

Rear-end, sideswipe and fixed-object collisions are the most common types of accidents that occur in work zones, with rear-end crashes occurring the most often.

When you consider this information, will it really pay to be a reckless driver in a work zone just so you can shave a few minutes off of the time you sit in traffic? The risk of property damage, injury or even fatality just doesn't make dangerous driving in a work zone worth it.

 Staying Safe

Instead of being a driver who is rude to those who are sharing the road with you, and who is putting other drivers, pedestrians and workers (and yourself) in danger, heed these safety tips when you approach a work zone.

  • If you don't have daytime running lamps, put your headlights on. Other drivers and workers will have an easier time seeing you, especially in inclement weather.
  • Stay alert and eliminate distractions. Don't change the radio station, answer your phone, send text messages or do anything else that may distract you. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your foot ready to brake at all times.
  • Don't tailgate. Sitting close to the person in front of you will increase the possibility of a crash.
  • Obey signs. If portable traffic signals are in use, make sure to stop when the light turns red. If a sign says to merge, do so, and don't wait until the last minute.

Driving is an activity that you should always engage in with extreme caution; in work zones, your caution levels should be even higher to avoid a potentially serious situation in an unpredictable environment. Talk to experts like Street Smart Rental for more information.